A Level results day 2022: Ukrainian students fearing Russian invasion win places at UK universities
One student has been volunteering as a translator for the British Army while his father fights the Russians near the border with Belarus.
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Two of these success stories come from Zorian Tytych, who has received four As in his exams and will be studying at Durham University in September, and Grisha Sheldunov, who has been offered a place at University College London four months after fleeing his war-torn home.
Grisha, 18, fled Ukraine in April and came to Brighton College in East Sussex.
He did not take A Levels, but as he had already completed his first year at university in Ukraine, college staff managed to help him secure a place to study chemistry at UCL.
The student said he was “incredibly grateful” for the support - and had been moved by people’s eagerness to help him.
He said: “I was surprised by how willing everyone is to help and everyone has been so friendly.
“It was surprising as we didn’t have this sort of help available in Ukraine, the culture is different.”
When people ask him about his plans for the future, Grisha finds it difficult to respond as he hopes one day to return to Ukraine.
“It’s hard for me to know what I’ll be doing in a month,” he explained. “I have friends and relatives in Ukraine.
“My home is there, so of course I would love to go back and I would love to help in rebuilding Ukraine when things are more normal again.”
Grisha’s father, grandparents and many of his friends are still in Ukraine, while he came to England with his mother and younger brother.
But the teenager is still excited to experience the UK education system and meet people with similar interests, and hopes that some of what he learns can help Ukraine.
He said: “I would love to use the things I learn here – that’s the beauty of education in different parts of the world, you can then help people in your home.”
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, fellow Ukrainian Zorian, 18, was forced to watch from afar in horror as his family fled his home city of Kyiv, and his father and cousin went to fight on the frontline.
The teenager, who prior to the war had come to Cardiff Sixth Form College to study maths, biology, physics and chemistry, was told by his family to stay in Wales - where it was safe.
Despite his distance from the conflict, Zorian was still determined to help his home country and so has been volunteering as a translator for the British Army.
He explained: “I am helping families by translating documents for them, helping them with day-to-day tasks, and being a friend to them.
“They need someone they can communicate with.”
One family who the 18-year-old worked with described him as “an example of an outstanding, selfless individual willing to help others where he can.”
Zorian’s father, a lawyer, signed up to the army the day after the war began as he wanted “to protect his home and support his country.”
Although Results Day should be a time of celebration, the day is also tainted for Zorian by the knowledge that his father is stationed on the Belarus border.
He said: “I cannot think too deeply about my father as it would drive me mad with worry, but I am very proud of him.
“I know he would feel it is a disgrace if he didn’t join the army. But I cannot think about it too much as it just makes me really concerned.”
Zorian plans to stay in the UK as long as he cannot return home safely. He will live with his godmother in London before he travels to Durham in September.
Gareth Collier, Principal of Cardiff Sixth Form College, said he was proud of how Zorian had continued to volunteer throughout the “very busy A-level revision period”.
He said: “[Zorian] has been an active member of the school community and we are delighted that he is able to continue his education here in the UK with these tremendous results.”